Homilette for Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday in the Octave of Easter

(Acts 2:14.22-33; Matthew 28:18-15)

Wars change territorial maps. After almost any war the victors annex disputed lands while the vanquished forego their claims. After World War I, for example, France, Poland, Demark, Belgium, and Czechoslovakia gained possession of lands from Germany. The resurrection of Jesus also brings about change. It alters not exterior but interior maps of everyone illumined by its brilliance. We see clear change in Peter as he boldly preaches Jesus in the reading from Acts today.

Of course, the proclamation takes place when Peter receives the Holy Spirit with the other disciples on Pentecost. But as courage, understanding, and the other gifts are works of the Spirit, so the coming of the Spirit is a function of Jesus’ resurrection. We can view the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus and the descent of the Spirit as one great Easter event with so much content that its wonder becomes appreciable only when we consider them separately.

Peter who denied Jesus at the high priest’s house now tells the Jews openly that Jesus is the long-awaited heir of David. He even has no qualms about charging the Jews with the death of Jesus. However, his purpose is not retribution but forgiveness. He will go on to say that repenting of their sin, they too may receive the same transforming Spirit.